Government // Mobile & Wireless
News
1/11/2010
02:46 AM
Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
Features
50%
50%

Review: Toshiba Touch-Screen Laptop

The Toshiba Satellite Pro U500-EZ1311 is a solid business laptop computer -- that happens to come with a fun and functional touch-screen display at a reasonable price. Just don't think that the touch-screen capability is going to change your life.

Page 2 of 2

The Laptop Under The Touch Screen
At this point, then, the touch-screen is basically a fun and somewhat frivolous option - adding about $100 to the sticker price -- that adds some sizzle to an otherwise solid but unspectacular laptop. The Satellite Pro U500-EZ1311 is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo T6670 chip and on-board graphics. Three gigabytes or RAM is standard, and it can hold up to 8 GB. There's also a 250 GB hard drive and a DVD burner.

The keyboard is basic but very usable, with no unpleasant surprises. The standard touchpad felt wonderful, however, with a textured surface for positive control a lighted strip that indicates whether it's turned on. Unfortunately, the multi-touch gesture control sometimes misinterpreted my cursor movements as attempts at making control gestures. I didn't accidentally do anything harmful, but I occasionally found myself having to attempt simple cursor movements more than once.

A strip of lighted buttons above the keyboard make it easy to control sound volume and media playback. There's even an Eco Mode button that cuts energy usage. Those buttons are flanked by surprisingly good-sounding, top-firing stereo speakers, and there's also a built-in Web cam and microphone. Connectivity includes a 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, a memory card reader, VGA and HDMI outputs, 2 USB 2.0 ports and a combo eSATA/USB port with USB Sleep and Charge so you can charge your portable devices without leaving the laptop on.

u500thin The Touch-Screen Makes The Toshiba U500 slightly thicker than many modern laptops.

The whole thing comes wrapped in a textured brown plastic case that sort of feels like the interior finish on a "near-luxury" automobile. In a good way.

The 6-cell battery is rated at 3.5, and I got at least that long in casual use. The package starts at under 5 pounds, but the touch screen adds some weight and thickness.

All in all, a very creditable laptop. And if you're interested in exploring the possible uses of touch-screens, or if you have a particular touch-application in mind, there's nothing in this machine that should dissuade you. It's a great way to tip your toe in the touch-screen world.

But if you're hoping the touch screen will somehow change the way you work on your laptop and magically make computing more productive, you're likely to be disappointed. For now, based on this sample of one, touch-screen laptops remain interesting, not-too-expensive curiosities, not game changers.


Don't Miss:


Follow Fredric Paul on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/TheFreditor
Follow InformationWeek SMB on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/InfoWeekSMB Get InformationWeek SMB on your mobile device

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.